Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

Finding Fixes to Just About Anything and Everything

Moving an ESXi VM from One Datastore to Another

Posted by Russell Wright on May 16, 2014

I installed a Samsung EVO 840 1TB SSD in our Dell R520 that is running ESXi.  We currently have 1TB RAID 0 and 2TB RAID 0 arrays made with Constellation ES.2 drives, so I thought I’d try an SSD to see how much "better-er" I could make it.

To make this work you can use a standard drive tray (purchased from eBay for $11.79) and a 3.5-to-2.5 SATA adapter (also purchased from eBay for $9.99). In this case, I installed a Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD that I also acquired from eBay ($445.00).

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You can see I failed to peel off all the plastic protective coating on the adapter, but hopefully that won’t be a big deal.  Just be sure to install the two screws on the adapter and the SSD prior to installing the adapter in the drive tray!

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I powered everything down and slid it in and then powered it all back up.  I probably didn’t need to do that (hot swap should work), but I wanted to compare the alignment of my adapter with one of the installed drives to make sure it looked like it was going to match up okay.  You never know when you use third party hardware.

Once you get the SSD installed, you can choose to make all or part of it a cache for VMWare to use.  You can set this in the Host Cache Configuration software setting in the Configuration tab of the vSphere client.

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Right-clicking on the SSD and selecting Properties… will allow you to select the amount of space you want to use for a host cache.

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So my goal was to move my SQL VM first.  There are many ways documented to do this, such as using the manual vmkfstools method, as documented in this thread by telecastle.  However, in my experience I’ve found it’s much easier to use VMWare vCenter Converter Standalone to move VMs around. 

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So, let’s do this and see how it works.  One picture is worth 1000 words, so here are some pictures to document the process.

First, you need to get the s/w, if you don’t already have it.  Google "download vmware standalone converter" and you should find it here.  You’ll have to register and log in to access it.

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We are starting a conversion process and selecting the source, which is an ESXi box.

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Make sure the VM is powered off.

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The destination is the same ESXi machine.

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We need to give it a new name…and it can’t be the same as one in the current inventory.

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Select the SSD datastore.  Note that, even though I don’t show it here, you should be careful about what Virtual machine version you choose.  I initially chose Version 10 (wasn’t paying attention) and found that the vSphere client can’t manage any VM over version 9.  Also, it can’t create a VM over version 8.  So, I decided to go back and convert my Version 10 to Version 8.

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The job is almost ready to go.  You have one last time to make some edits.

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Now we’re ready to start it!

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And the job has been submitted and is off and running.  Now just sit back, relax, and exercise your patience.  I don’t know about you, but I much prefer this to the command line stuff.

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